Due to current energy and ecological crises, the “green-collar” job market shows real potential for growth. UMKC’s Environmental Studies Program is designed to meet pressing needs in the workforce and the urban community, and to produce graduates who are broadly educated in environmental issues and who can communicate effectively. The program is an active partner in Kansas City’s robust environmental network, helping students attain relevant real-world experience beyond the classroom.

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Fast Facts

  • There are approximately 85 undergraduates in geosciences degree programs. 60 percent are studying environmental studies, 20 percent geography and 20 percent geology.
  • Upper-level classes average 15-20 students.
  • Recent awards received by environmental studies students include the prestigious Morris Udall Award and the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) undergraduate fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Student Organizations

The Environmental Studies Student Association (ESSA) offers students opportunities to:

  • Meet with visiting environmental scientists.
  • Attend special interest forums and lectures.
  • Participate in environmental field trips.
  • Attend student-driven organizational activities.
  • Participate in city government.
  • Acquire a local or regional internship.
  • Attend national meetings and conferences.

Real World Experience



Career options for Environmental Studies majors:

  • Environmental engineer
  • Environmental geologist
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Health and safety analyst
  • Emergency response technician
  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental chemist
  • Environmental policy advisor


  • City, state, or federal field officer
  • Parks and recreation agent
  • Conservationist
  • Environmental resource analyst
  • Urban and regional planner


Average range of salaries for jobs based in Kansas City:

  • Park naturalist, $37,000-$56,000
  • Entry-level environmental engineer, $46,000-$56,000
  • Experienced environmental manager, $76,000-$103,000
  • Experienced waste management manager, $75,000-$105,000







Admission Requirements

  • Prospective students should enroll in as many classes as possible in mathematics, English composition and sciences during their high school years.
  • A minimum 2.0 GPA is required for all credit hours transferred from other institutions.
  • All undergraduate majors must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses taken to fulfill departmental degree requirements.

Prerequisite Courses

  • There are no prerequisite courses before becoming a environmental studies major.

Major Courses

  • The environmental studies B.A. requires a minimum of 23 credit hours. A minimum of 12 credit hours must come from natural sciences, social sciences, ethics, jurisprudence and culture courses.
  • The environmental studies B.S. requires a minimum of 41 credit
    hours. A minimum of 12 credit hours must come from natural sciences, social sciences, ethics, jurisprudence and culture courses. At least 60 credit hours of science and mathematics are required.

Other Programs Available

  • Master of Science degree in Environmental
    and Urban Geosciences
  • Advanced Certificate Program in Geographic
    Information Systems
  • Graduate Certificate Program in Waste Management
  • Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program


  • Internationally recognized faculty have expertise in earthquakes, climate change, colonial geography, history of the city, mineral resources and environmental science.
  • Faculty members are actively involved in regional, national and international research projects from ozone and asthma studies in Kansas City to environmental remote sensing in Nigeria, and wetland issues in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.
  • Faculty research findings have been featured in National Geographic, Time Magazine, Nature, Science and Wetlands.
  • Faculty members have received funding of more than $1 million in competitive grants from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Chemical Society, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey and the Kauffman Foundation.
  • The department boasts a diverse faculty, who between them are conversant in 10 languages. Forty percent are non-white, coming from China, India, Korea and Nigeria. Women comprise 20 percent of faculty.

Faculty contacts

Dr. Caroline Davies (Environmental Science, B.S.)

Dr. Daniel Hopkins (Environmental Studies, B.A.)

Environmental Studies Program:

Contact us

UMKC Office of Admissions
120 Administrative Center
University of Missouri-Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
(816) 235-1111
Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may
call Relay Missouri at:
1-800-735-2966 (TT)
1-800-735-2466 (voice)


Visit us

Contact the UMKC Welcome Center at 816-235-UMKC (8652), or toll-free at 1-800-775-UMKC (8652), and we'll arrange a guided campus tour and a meeting with faculty and staff.